Coachless, out of pocket and his reputation suffering, now Nick Kyrgios is in a race to retain a US Open seeding after his turbulent Wimbledon campaign came to a miserable and premature end.
Denying allegations of tanking and forking out $US9,500 ($A12,675) in fines for unsportsmanlike conduct were just the start of Kyrgios’s troubles as he departed the All England Club struggling to digest his four-set fourth-round loss to Richard Gasquet on Monday.
Kyrgios must now begin a rescue mission to repair his battered image and ranking after a failure to defend his quarter-final points from last year sent the young firebrand plummeting 14 spots to No.42 in the world.
With little more than a month to climb back into the top 32 and shattered after enduring a Fleet Street grilling following his loss to Gasquet, it’s no wonder the New York major was the last thing on the 20-year-old’s mind.
“I’m not thinking about that right now,” Kyrgios said following his 7-5 6-1 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (8-6) loss.
“It hurts. You never want to go out of a grand slam. I feel like I definitely could have done better.”
Win or lose, even former tennis super-brat John McEnroe said Kyrgios should have behaved better after Australia’s emerging star refused to acknowledge he stopped trying during an appalling third game of the second set.
Social media erupted before the British press savaged Kyrgios for not even attempting to return Gasquet’s serve during the bizarre mid-match meltdown.
“He should have admitted he lost it for that period of time,” McEnroe told the BBC.
“He’ll realise tomorrow he made an ass out of himself.”
Kyrgios could be fined up to $US20,000 ($A26,675) under grand slam “best effort” rules.
The tennis hot-head, who said he felt misunderstood and was finding it tough to deal with personal issues and the pressures of his meteoric rise to grand slam stardom, has already been hit with a $US7500 ($A10,000) ticket for his racquet narrowly missing fans after he bounced it into the grass in his third-round comeback win over Milos Raonic.
Kyrgios was also slugged with a $US2,000 ($A2,675) fine for swearing in his loss to Gasquet.
His, though, was among dozens of fines handed out by the ITF over the first eight days of the championship and Kyrgios found an ally in home hope Andy Murray, himself no stranger to coping with grand slam stress in front of expectant British fans over the years.
“I don’t think people appreciate how difficult it is to grow up under the spotlight, how difficult it is to have loads of people expecting you to be perfect from a young age,” Murray said after safely moving into the quarter-finals on Monday.
“I like Nick. I’ve spoken to him away from the court. He’s quite different to how he is on it.”
Kyrgios split with long-time coach Todd Larkham on Wimbledon eve and used his manager John Morris and others during the championships.
He clashed with Morris and dismissed him from his courtside box during his loss to Gasquet, but said he had no immediate plans to begin the search for a new mentor ahead of his scheduled appearance at Australia’s Davis Cup quarter-final in Darwin from July 17-19.
Tennis insiders have suggested McEnroe, a huge admirer despite his criticism of Kyrgios, would be the perfect fit, while Davis Cup captain Wally Masur said he should hunt down a Darren Cahill or Roger Rasheed – who on Monday announced his split with Grigor Dimitrov – to get back on track.
“If Nick had people like that in his corner, it would be great for him,” Masur said.
“But that’s the funny thing in tennis too; it’s like stars have got to collide to get the right person.
“When you’re young, you still think you’ve got an infinite number of Wimbledons, but they come and go very quickly.”